Eye Exam

Featured Article, Healthy Aging
on December 1, 2011

1. If you work at a computer all day, you probably do this less often than you should . . .
A. visit the eye doctor.
B. blink.
C. rub your eyes.

The answer is B. Adults usually blink about 15 times a minute, but those who work at computers blink only half as often. The same holds true for people who read for extended periods. If you’re frequently squinting at the screen or the page, make a conscious effort to blink to reduce strain. 

Click here for more information on dry eye.

2. Dry eye occurs everywhere, but you might be more likely to develop it if you live in . . .
A. Santa Fe.
B. Miami.
C. Seattle.

The answer is A. Nothing against Santa Fe, but it has two characteristics that make it prime dry-eye territory: low humidity and high altitude (the highest elevation of any U.S. state capital). Wind and air pollution can also contribute to dry eye.



3. In winter, when dry eye is more common, turn off your . . .
A. humidifier.
B. television.
C. car heater.

The answer is C. Dry air from your car heater (or air conditioner) can make your eyes uncomfortable. At the very least, direct the vents away from your face. Watching TV only contributes to dry eye if you do it all day long, and a humidifier can actually give you relief from the condition.

4. As you age, you’re most likely to need . . .
A. reading glasses.
B. contact lenses.
C. laser eye surgery.

The answer is A. Presbyopia, the condition that makes it difficult to focus on objects close to you, is a natural part of aging. It typically develops around age 45. Prescription reading glasses can help correct your vision, although it will continue to worsen over time.

5. Which of the following is true about tears?
A. Your eyes produce more as you age.
B. Their chemical composition varies depending on your reason for crying.
C. They are a sign of sadness in animals and humans.

The answer is B. Your eyes produce three types of tears. Lubricating basal tears are replenished when you blink, and you produce less of them as you age. Reflex tears protect the eye from irritants like smoke, dirt and pungent smells. Emotional tears fall when you’re sad, happy or in pain. Only humans produce them.

6. Since omega-3 fatty acids are good for your eyes, your grocery list should include . . .
A. carrots.
B. cheeses like asiago and cheddar.
C. tuna, mackerel and trout.

The answer is C. Several medical studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a decreased risk of eye conditions including dry eye and age-related macular degeneration. Your body doesn’t produce omega-3s; they’re found in foods like tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, herring and other fish, or in supplements.

7. If you’re having trouble reading on your computer monitor . . .
A. raise it.
B.  lower it.
C. move it closer to you.

The answer is B. The best position for your computer monitor is about two feet away and slightly below your eye level. This keeps your eyes in a more relaxed position and allows tears to lubricate them.

8. Your risk for developing glaucoma increases significantly if you’re . . .
A. African-American.
B. Caucasian.
C. an eldest child.

The answer is A. Glaucoma, an eye disease that can lead to blindness, affects nearly 4 million Americans and occurs nearly six times more often among African-Americans than Caucasians. While it typically arises in people over age 60, it may appear as early as childhood among high-risk populations. Your eye doctor can perform a glaucoma test as part of your regular eye exam.

9. The most effective way to reduce your risk for cataracts is to . . .
A. drink orange juice.
B. wear sunglasses.
C. stop texting on your cellphone.

The answer is B. Exposure to ultraviolet light can cause cataracts, a condition that clouds the lens of the eye and inhibits vision. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block out UV light up to 400 nm (nanometers), which covers nearly 100 percent of UV light. For extra insurance, go ahead and sip some OJ too—a diet high in vitamins and minerals may reduce cataract risk as well.